Quick spin: Peugeot 208 Allure Sport

The car: Peugeot 208 Allure Sport

From: $26,490 plus on-road and dealer costs

Vitals: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo; 115kW/240Nm; 6-sp manual; FWD; 5.8L/100km and 135g/km CO2.

What is it?

Peugeot’s range-topping 208 city hatch model with a performance bent thanks to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

What does it say about me?

I’m still loyal to the brand despite the problems I may have had with my fickle old 207.

What doesn’t it say about me?

That I value reliability over style and panache.

Who else is buying it?

Previous Peugeot buyers (they’re a loyal, forgiving bunch) but also younger types who like a bit of style and technology. There will be plenty who are sold on it as soon as they sit in it.

What colours does it come in?

The most eye-catching are a blue, a bright red and a cherry cola-style hue known as black red. We would have that one.

If it were a star, who would it be?

Audrey Tautou, the star of French film Amelie. She’s cute, delightfully playful and a bit cheeky.

Why would I buy it?

Because you like the look of the standard five-door version, but the combination of automatic gearbox and non-turbo engine is just too slow for you.

Does it cost too much?

Probably. The fact it is pretty close to the same money as the Volkswagen Polo GTI – which is a more powerful and more focused hot-hatch – means there’s not a whole heap of room above it for the 208 GTI.

Will I get a deal?

Nope. It’s brand-spanking new, and they aren’t likely to be selling them in bulk. Peugeot does have fixed-price servicing on this car, so don’t let the salesperson make you think they are giving you a good deal by lining that up for you.

Any gadgets I can brag about?

The big seven-inch touch-screen media system, which takes the place of the humble CD player and replaces it with an interface for Bluetooth or USB audio players. Stupidly, though, the high-res screen isn’t used as a reversing-camera monitor. It should be, because rear vision is terrible in this thing.

Will it let me down?

Some French cars have a history of problems with electrics, and this one’s high-tech digital media system does push the boundaries a bit.

Is it safe?

Mostly. It has six airbags, reversing sensors and stability control, but misses out on the seemingly simple addition of a reversing camera.

Will it get me noticed?

We certainly got a few glances – probably because not many people have seen a 208 on the road before. But it’s not quite as eye-catching as, say, the Citroen DS3 D-Sport.

Will I get carjacked in it?

Carjackers don’t generally go for a pretty little French car as a getaway vehicle.

How’s the cabin ambience?

The interior is one of the best in its class, with stylish finishes and a smart dash layout that puts the instrument cluster above the steering wheel, so you look over it rather than through it. It can be noisy inside over coarse chip surfaces, though.

What’s the stereo like?

Rubbish if you like listening to CDs – there’s no disc slot. But overall it was easy to use on most counts.

Does it go?

Sure does. The 1.6-litre turbo engine is the same unit seen in the Citroen DS3 D-Sport, Mini Cooper and BMW 1-Series (albeit in a different state of tune). It’s not a thumper, but it builds speed without fuss and sounds great.

Does it like corners?

Indeed. It holds on nicely through the bends, and Peugeot’s innovative mini steering wheel makes piloting the Pug through them quite simple. Parking’s a cinch, too.

What about bumps?

It’s not the most sophisticated when it comes to dealing with a mid-corner bump, but overall the ride is quite good.

What about service stations?

We saw decent consumption on our 900-kilometre trip to the country. In fact, it did just over 700 kilometres on about 45 litres (averaging 6.5L/100km). But it does have a thirst for premium fuel.

Would you buy one?

No, I’d buy the Citroen DS3 D-Sport. It’s a bit more focused and its appearance lights my fire more than the Pug does.

The spin

“The Peugeot 208 is a true ‘re-generation’ in car design on all levels; architecturally, stylistically, technologically, ergonomically, and environmentally speaking.”

The translation

It’s nothing like the 207, we promise.

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